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People travel on a train in central Pyongyang in April.   © Reuters
Economy

North Korea feeling tighter squeeze from sanctions

Pyongyang rushes to tackle foreign currency shortage

SOTARO SUZUKI, Nikkei staff writer | North Korea

SEOUL -- More signs have emerged that North Korea is feeling the effects of sanctions imposed by the international community -- gasoline prices have soared, and the country is moving to fight its foreign currency shortage stemming from trade restrictions.

North Korea's cellphone imports have jumped, a source at the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency said Tuesday. Pyongyang apparently uses cellphone sales to obtain foreign currency held by wealthy citizens. It is able to pocket foreign currency via importing cellphones from China for $100 each and reselling them for $300 on the country's black markets, which are called jangmadang.

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